I’ve been trying to decrease our food budget around here lately.  This past week was dedicated to cooking without going grocery shopping, which meant shopping in our pantry. So here I am, sharing the 6 easy dinners, that could quickly be thrown together while trying to take care of a newborn, whose favorite time to be held seems to be the moment I start to cook.


But isn’t she just adorable!?!  Why wouldn’t I want to cook quickly so I can love on her again?


Thyme Crusted Baked Potatoes

These spuds are so tasty that you will want to eat the skin. I’ve never been a potato skin eater, until I rubbed this blend of seasoning on them and then my spud eating moments forever.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Wash potatoes & prick them with a form on all sides.
  • Rub olive oil on the potatoes and place them in a glass baking pan.
  • Then sprinkle the Potato Seasoning on both side of the potatoes. The seasoning consists of:
    • Dried Thyme
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Herbamare
      (The amount of seasoning depends on how many potatoes will be baked. Usually, I use 2-3 parts Thyme, 2 parts Herbamare, 1 part salt and 1 part pepper. But season to your liking.)
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the size and quantity of the potatoes you are baking.
  • Add whatever potato fixings you have on hand like cheese, plain yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream, and butter. I almost warmed up a frozen bag of homemade chili I had in the freezer, but decided to save it for another day.

I like to bake a whole bag of potatoes at a time. This allows us to feed more than just our family or use the leftovers to make potato soup later.

Creamy Meaty Pasta

This dish gives a little oomph to a normal spaghetti dish by adding one extra ingredient – cream cheese!

  • Cook the spaghetti like normal.
  • While the spaghetti is cooking, cook the meat. I typically use beef or turkey. Add your favorite seasonings. (Thyme, Salt, Pepper & Herbamare and maybe even some Basil are what I like to add).
  • Once the meat is finished, then add the cream cheese (4 oz – 8 oz depending on how creamy you would like the dish).
  • After draining the spaghetti, then add it to the meat mixture and mix it all together.


Taco Salad

This is my oldest daughter’s favorite dish and the fact that we ate it on Tuesday made the meal even more fun!

We layered the following:

  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Black Beans & Garbanzo Beans
  • Taco Meat
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Plain Yogurt for sour cream usually, but this time we were out.

You can always add extra veggies to this dish – corn, peppers, tomatoes, etc.


Creamy Vegetable Pasta Soup (Non-dairy)

This recipe is one I adapted from the great Toni, who is amazing in the kitchen.

In a large pot, bring the following to a boil:

  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken broth. (I typically use my left over homemade chicken broth.)
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 large sweet potato diced (around 4 cups)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shredded carrot

After it has been brought to a bowl, add in 2 cups of a fun kind of pasta + 1/2 tsp of dried basil & 1/2 tsp of dried dill. Let this simmer for about 8 minutes then add in the following cashew mixture.

In a food processor or blender, add in:

  • 1 cup cashews + 1 1/2 cup water. (I add all the cashews and 1/2 cup of water, blend it up well, then add the rest of the water.) This week I only had 1/4 a cup of cashews so used peanuts for the other 3/4 cup. It still tasted good. When working from the pantry it’s all about what can I substitute!
  • 1 cup of frozen corn
  • 1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes

After you’ve added in the cashew mixture, bring it back to a boil. Then serve! This is one of our favorite soups.  The night I made it, this pot actually fed 3 adults and 8 kids.

Breakfast Sandwiches

My oldest daughter’s cooking skills are blossoming. She enjoys cooking scrambled eggs and they actually taste fluffier than mine! Add these scrambled eggs to a toasted English muffin, slathered in Vegenaise, teamed up with cheese and bacon and we are in breakfast for dinner heaven!



Corn Chowder

I found this Corn Chowder recipe online and decided to give it a try. It was quick, easy, and yummy. I did a few substitutions because I didn’t have all the ingredients but it was still yummy!

My substitutions included using:

  • Coconut oil instead of butter or olive oil
  • Milk instead of cream
  • Frozen corn instead of fresh
  • An extra quart of water to make sure there would be plenty to feed our family.
  • Two extra potatoes, a clove of garlic, and of course, herbamare.


What I liked about shopping from my pantry is that not only did we save money and use what we had, but we were able to stretch out our dinners so that we could share them with others. So often I step into my pantry or open the fridge and think there is nothing there, but the reality is I have plenty of options to get a little creative and invite others on a taste-bud adventure with us.  Of course, sometimes these edible adventures end up creating memories that make us all laugh later, but it’s worth it. Thankfully, this week we didn’t have any major recipe wrecks but believe me they do happen!

What are some of your quick and easy dinners that you can throw together easily?


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